All posts by Linda

Myers-Briggs INFP.

Take a number, please

I recently visited the nearby Department of Motor Vehicles office to renew my driver’s license.

My oldest memories of visits to the DMV usually involved walking up to the dispenser on the counter and receiving from it a little piece of paper with a preprinted number on it.

It was a small thing, not more than two inches square, with a perforation to facilitate easy tearing off.

This time, I walked up to a table just outside the door to the office, with an employee seated at it. She had an instruction sheet with a QR code. I stood in line while a guy tried to scan the QR code. It apparently wasn’t working for him, so the woman pointed to the instruction sheet and told him to text this code to that number. He looked at his phone and, although I couldn’t hear precisely what happened, the face he turned toward the employee spoke of disappointment. The woman said, “Okay, I’ll go get you a number.” She went into the office and returned with a Post-It® note that she handed to him.

The next woman in line tried to scan the code, and then said, with an apologetic shrug, “I’m sorry – my battery’s going dead.” The employee responded, “Okay, I’ll go get you a number.” Another trip to the office, and a Post-It® note.

I was next. The instruction sheet with the QR code on it was covered in a somewhat rumpled sheet of plastic, so it was giving my camera a weird reflection, and after i had failed to get a good image for maybe twenty seconds or so, the employee pointed to the next part of the instruction sheet and said, “Text this code to that number.” I texted the code, and then it pinged back an error message that said, “Please provide a ten-digit mobile number or enter a valid code.” I read it to the employee. She said, “Okay, I’ll go get you a number.” Off to the office. Post-It® note.

At this point, I was considering making a comment on the process…maybe saying something like, “You know, I saw a cool thing the other day – it was this little dispenser on a counter, and you walked up to it and it had these numbers on paper, and the paper was perforated, so you’d tear one off. And it was sort of like, you know, a Post-It®, but not sticky.”

I thought, though, that the woman at the table probably doesn’t appreciate smart-alecky customers. So I accepted my Post-It® and said “Thank you.”

Got any smart remarks you’ve wanted to make but haven’t?

civic sacrament

About twenty years ago I signed up to be an election judge. I had switched from a full time schedule to working just three days a week, so I regularly had Tuesdays off. It seemed like a good time to step forward and help my community make its voice heard.

You meet all kinds of people in the polling place. I think the most memorable voter I ever met was a woman who called me over to discuss her voting dilemma, I think in 2004.  She said she was having trouble deciding who to cast her presidential vote for, because she didn’t really like any of the candidates. They all fell short of the standards she felt candidates should meet. “The people I would really like to see on the ballot are Paul Wellstone, Jesus, and Princess Diana,” she explained. I gently advised her that while those were not going to be realistic possibilities, since all three of them were dead, and only one of them had even been a U.S. citizen, she was quite free to write in any name she chose.

The other memorable thing about the woman was that she had large plastic bags on both hands, secured at the wrists by rubber bands. She was ahead of her time.

I will be staying home this election day, trying to keep myself safe, after voting early. I’ll miss watching this exercise of political power by ordinary citizens. Of all the unsettling changes that COVID-19 has brought, this may be the most unsettling for me. So far.

Any disruptions, major or minor, that have arisen for you lately due to COVID-19? (Or for any other reason, for that matter?)

Keeping House

Today’s post comes from Linda.

One of the projects I have been putting off way too long, and finally got to this summer, was to re-roof an old birdhouse I’d gotten from one of my gardening clients. It’s a very old weathered wood house that had been chewed on by a critter of some sort, and I had put it aside when the old roof fell apart.

I rounded up the wood scraps, saw, hammer, nails, ruler and pencil necessary to play Norm Abram for an hour, and hung the completed project on a panel of the old gazebo out back.

I felt rather pleased to be able to check it off my to-do list, but even more pleased when two days later I spotted some nesting material poking out of the opening.

After consulting a local wild bird store, I invested in some live mealworms to help provide a steady food supply for the parents and the offspring that were likely to follow soon. One of the parent birds became quite bold when s/he realized what I was delivering, and would come perch on the feeder while I sprinkled the mealworms from the container. The birds became a bit shy when I tried to film them, but I captured a few short videos of feeding time.

The activity intensified when the little ones hatched out. They were hungry, and talked about it a lot. The bold little wren actually brushed a wing against my hand one morning in its eagerness to get breakfast started. I was a little concerned that it was becoming too tame for its own good!

Do you cut corners on safety when you’re in a hurry? Do you worry about your family and friends who do?

Ice Cream Chronicles Part I

My favorite Twin Cities ice cream shop is not an ice cream shop. It’s a drugstore. It’s called St. Paul Corner Drug, located on the corner of Snelling and St. Clair Avenues. I remember when their ice cream cones cost 35 cents, but it’s been awhile since the price was that low. A single scoop cone is now an exorbitant $1.75. A cup of coffee, however, is still a nickel.

The store has a traditional soda fountain counter that dates to the 1920’s. There are always four flavors of ice cream. Traditional vanilla, chocolate or some variation on chocolate, and a fruit flavor of some kind. The fourth is anybody’s guess. Might be butter pecan or salted caramel, peppermint bon-bon, or some novelty flavor like bubblegum.

The counter sports several racks of magnets with humorous sayings, which you can peruse while enjoying your ice cream.

On the outside of the building, there is a water faucet. Beneath it you’ll find two stainless steel bowls filled with water for the neighborhood dogs, in the warm weather months. There’s also a table if you feel inclined to bring your ice cream outside so you can hang out with your pooch.

There is, of course, a pharmacy counter, but IMHO, the ice cream is the best medicine.

What’s your medicine of choice?

March of Two Moons

Today’s post is by Linda.

There are two full moons on the March calendar this year – the 1st and the 31st are our two lunar displays.  A full moon is March is thought to encourage worms to begin to move around underground, so it’s knows as the Worm Moon.

Here’s a musical suggestion for making the most of the moonlight.


What do you do when the moon is full?

A Pretty Pickle

Today’s post comes from Linda.

When I’m having lunch with someone, I often hear myself asking “Do you want your pickle?”

It bothers me to see a pickle languishing on the plate. I estimate 80% of diners leave the pickle to be thrown away. What a waste.
I appreciate a good pickle. Or even a mediocre pickle.

What do you appreciate that others don’t?

A Pocketful of?

Spring is the time to clean out winter jacket pockets.  Much
accumulates there in a few short months.

Once I planned to write a book of poems entirely about the things in
my pocket. But I found it would be too long; and the age of the great
epics is past.
— Gilbert Chesterton

What’s in your pockets?  What would you like to find there?

Valentine Bingo

Things get a little frantic at a flower shop in mid-February. If you work in one, it’s wise to keep a sense of humor about it.

One of my co-workers drew up some Valentine Bingo scorecards to determine who gets all the most predictable and/or oddball questions and requests first.

Among the predictable ones:
“Roses cost how much?” (Yes, wholesale and retail prices go up this time of year.)
“And delivery is on top of that?” (Uh-huh. Wanna come pick them up?)
“Make it pretty…” (Well, we don’t typically try for ugly.)
“What time will that be delivered?” (It’s anybody’s guess. Wish I had a crystal ball.)
And that old favorite, “Are you busy?” (Ha ha ha ha! No! We’re not busy at all! You’re the very first person to ask me that! How very droll!)


And the less common, but still strangely inevitable ones:

“Do you have any peonies?” (Sorry, no. Too early for peonies.)
“Do you have blue roses?” (Only if you want a coat of paint on them.)
“I don’t know her last name…” (But she works at 3M and her first name is Jennifer.)
The wedding inquiry. (Um…your timing leaves something to be desired.)

When you feel as if you’re about to lose all control, you just remind yourself that it’ll all be over soon. And there’s pizza in the break room.

What’s on your bingo scorecard?